Gardens for Wildlife

The Gardens for Wildlife scheme (GFW) was launched in August 2008. Participation in this conservation scheme is voluntary and non-binding. The scheme aims to encourage and recognise people who wish to make their property friendly for local wildlife and the environment. The scheme has been developed as a sister program to the long-running Tasmanian Land for Wildlife scheme.

By joining GFW you clearly demonstrate your support and commitment to protecting wildlife species and habitat. You can contribute to bringing nature home by welcoming wildlife to share your garden and by providing a healthy environment for them to do so. Environment - friendly practices are very important too, as what you do in your garden can affect other places far beyond your garden boundaries.

Membership to GFW only costs $16.50 and is open to anyone who wishes to show their support for protecting wildlife species and habitat. No matter how small your garden - regardless of whether it is just plant containers, or a courtyard, roof top garden, deck or larger space - we can all contribute to the survival of wildlife and increase awareness of protecting our natural diversity.

As at July 2018, there were 622 GFW members covering 2,931 hectares.

Benefits

Benefits of membership to the GFW scheme include:
  • Contributing to the conservation of local plants and animals;
  • More time to enjoy your garden by reducing maintenance time and costs;
  • Reducing excess water through wise water use, such as mulching and use of local native plant species which are better able to tolerate drought;
  • Benefits from having native birds and insects in your garden through natural pest control (no need for chemicals), increased pollination and fruit/flower set leading to better production;
  • Increased environmental awareness; and
  • Access to the members only section of the Gardens for Wildlife website.
PLCP Gardens for Wildlife montage
 

 

Soil, microbes and organic matter

Centipede

Centipede (Tasmanophilus) - predator
Photo:  Karen Richards

Have you ever thought about the complex, fascinating and dynamic processes and interactions that occur at and under the surface of soils in your backyard or vegie patch?  There are many and varied players in the physical, chemical and biological processes that occur beyond what we see, or perhaps realise.  The productivity and biodiversity of our landscapes are strongly dependent on soils – they take a long, long time to form, but can be so readily and quickly destroyed, lost or made non-productive.

 

Scarab lavae

Scarab larvae - eater of soil and decomposing vegetation
Photo: Karen Richards

The process of soil formation and change occurs over vast scales of time and space from millions of years ago to daily and is linked to processes occurring at landscape scales related to geology, climate, development of landforms, water movement, vegetation and fauna.

 

 

 

Soil is composed of five major components: minerals, water, air, organic matter and living organisms. 

Earthworm - eats soil and breaks down vegetation
Photo: Karen Richards

The smallest fraction which is made up of living organisms, including bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa, constitutes the most vital and dynamic component of soils.  It is the living biological component of soils which is responsible for the breaking down of organic matter, releasing and recycling nutrients and minerals so essential for soil fertility and productivity.

 


Tenebrionidae larva eats fungi and decomposing wood

Tenebrionidae larvae - eats fungi and decomposing wood
Photo: Karen Richards

Sources of organic matter to the soil can include leaf litter, twigs, branches, plant roots, as well as living and dead organisms.  Organic matter on the surface of the soil is decomposed by invertebrate species such as millipedes, beetles, nematodes, slaters, insect larvae and earthworms as well as bacteria and fungi.  Many of these species are important food sources for higher organisms, such as centipedes, lizards, frogs, birds and bandicoots. 


 

Elatrid (Agrypnus) eats decomposing matter

Elatrid (Agrypnus) - eats decomposing matter
Photo:  Karen Richards

Soils are an essential component of our gardens and landscapes. 

 

 

- Iona Mitchell

 


 


 

Read the full article in the June 2018 edition of The Running Postman newsletter to learn more about the fascinating physical and biological process that occur in soil:

 

  Running Postman Newsletter No. 25 June 2018   (2Mb)



 

Additional information

If you would like more information about becoming a member of GFW please visit the Gardens for Wildlife website or fill out an application form.


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Contact

Gardens for Wildlife Coordinator
Iona Mitchell
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 4409
Email: GardensforWildlife.Enquiries@dpipwe.tas.gov.au
Website: http://www.gardensforwildlife.dpipwe.tas.gov.au